Article published in:Historical (socio)pragmatics at present
Edited by Matylda Włodarczyk and Irma Taavitsainen
[Journal of Historical Pragmatics 18:2] 2017
► pp. 252–270
Meaning-making practices in the history of medical English
A sociopragmatic approach
Genres work through conventions of communicative patterns. Variation in them is related to sociolinguistic parameters of writers and readers as well as situational and contextual factors, including culture. Conventions of writing change slowly and there are elements that remain constant throughout centuries but acquire new connotations. I shall first discuss genre theories and methods of studies at the interface between language and literature, and then provide a case study. The top genre of scholastic research was the commentary with a distinct genre structure. It was first introduced in Middle English in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and became established in Early Modern English, as my examples will show. The transition period is particularly intriguing as the old thought style began to give way to new ideas, and observation proved inherited wisdom erroneous. Commentaries had an afterlife in spurious writings, providing an empirical example of genre dynamics and proving the usefulness of the notion of genre script as applied in this case study.
Keywords: context, culture, genre, meaning change, script, schemata
Published online: 09 February 2018
de Acosta, José
Early English Books Online (EEBO)
ProQuest LLC. Available online at: http://eebo.chadwyck.com/.
Early Modern English Medical Texts (EMEMT)
2010 Compiled by Irma Taavitsainen, Pahta Päivi, Turo Hiltunen, Martti Mäkinen, Ville Marttila, Maura Ratia, Carla Suhr and Jukka Tyrkkö, CD-ROM with EMEMT Presenter software by Raymond Hickey. Irma Published together with Irma Taavitsainen and Päivi Pahta (eds), Early Modern English Medical Texts: Corpus description and studies. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
2013 “Tradition, Innovation and Defamiliarization in the Evolution of Genres: Explanations of Generic Change from Russian Formalism to the Renaissance of Genre Theory in the 21st Century”. In Michael Basseler, Ansgar Nünning and Christine Schwanecke (eds), Cultural Dynamics of Generic Change in Contemporary Fiction: Theoretical Frameworks, Genres and Model Interpretations, 43–63. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag.
Basseler, Michael, Ansgar Nünning and Christine Schwanecke
2013 “The Cultural Dynamics of Generic Change: Surveying Kinds and Problems of Literary History and Accounting for the Development of Genres”. In Michael Basseler, Ansgar Nünning and Christine Schwanecke (eds), Cultural Dynamics of Generic Change in Contemporary Fiction: Theoretical Frameworks, Genres and Model Interpretations, 1–40. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag.
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Taavitsainen, Irma and Andreas H. Jucker
Taavitsainen, Irma and Päivi Pahta
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